My social media channels have been buzzing with information and comment, much of it adverse, on AncestryDNA's latest refinement to its service termed “New Ancestor Discoveries.” The developed is hyped in a blog post by Anna Swayne:
"AncestryDNA is turning family history inside out with our latest innovation in DNA science and technology. Within your DNA, you carry a history that goes back hundreds, even thousands of years. Today, we are pleased to announce New Ancestor Discoveries, a revolutionary new way to discover, preserve and share your family history. Now, by just taking the AncestryDNA test, you can instantly find ancestors you never knew you had, going back generations in your family. This represents an entirely new way to get more of your story, whether you’re an expert genealogist, hobbyist, or beginner."It goes on in the same vein with this anonymously voice-overed video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wBVFoK7UVU&list=PLAC8BA8A00067460F&index=2.
For me this new analysis reveals no new ancestors so I can't comment first hand. I'm not alone. According to another less polished AncestryDNA video voiced by Kenny Freestone, AncestryDNA’s Director of Product, and kudos to him for putting his name to the product:
- about one-third of subscribers will have no new ancestors identified,
- about one-quarter of the matches will be false.
Unfortunately AncestryDNA continues to hide the basis for their ancestor (actually relative) predictions, so insulting our intelligence by telling us we wouldn't understand. Will we see that "improvement" catch on with the rest of the company, after all, interpreting conventional original records often isn't straighforward? If so we'll just be told that certain relationships exist but there will be no access to the census or other record on which the determination is based! Perhaps that's what the majority of potential clients Ancestry seems now to be targeting want.